The Cruel Master, 1778

A sad story tonight, from Saunders’ News-Letter, 30 January 1778, involving a murder and secret burial in the graveyard of St Michan’s Church next to the Law Library buildings at 158/9 Church Street.

“Last week one of those chimney sweepers who employ a number of boys or children, adapted in their size to the narrowest tunnel, brought a small creature to make his first effay in a chimney in Dirty-Lane, Thomas-Street; when the poor child attempted to ascend, a sudden fear seized him from read more

Beneath the East Wing: The Inns Quay Infirmary, 1728-89

The above image shows the site of the Four Courts as surveyed by John Roque in 1756, when it was still owned by the Benchers of the King’s Inns. You can see what is left of the old Priory/King’s Inns buildings on the far left. Much of the rest of the site has been built on – sometimes, but not always, with the permission of the Benchers.

The Charitable Infirmary started life in Cook Street in 1718, but soon ran out of space and was delighted to take up in 1728 an offer to move read more

The (Would-be) Serial Killer of Church Street, 1861

From the Belfast Morning News, 2 January 1861:

“Joseph Dwyer is now in custody on a charge of having made one of the most daring and diabolical attempts to deprive a fellow-creature of life, for the mere purpose of pecuniary gain, that perhaps the world ever heard of. A young man of simple appearance, scarcely to be known out of his own street, had taken a stable which he sought to convert into a slaughter-house and a cemetery.

The stable in question had been, it is said, in the possession read more

Cockfighting in Arran Square, 1844

From the Freeman’s Journal, 15 April 1844:

In consequence of a communication by the secretary for the prevention of cruelty, instructions were given to the police to look sharply after a cockfighting match about to come off in Hammond-Lane. The police proceeded to the place at the specified time, and the result was an introduction of twenty five persons to answer a charge having been present at, and encouraged the fight…

Mr Superintendent Selwood… proved that the cockfight read more

Armed Footpad Overpowered in Church Street, c. 1800

From the Freeman’s Journal, 30 January 1882:

A curious reminiscence of… old Dublin life turned up at one of the central [police] stations on Friday… [A]n old gentleman entered the station… and produced a small silver-mounted flint pistol, evidently of the last century… He said that he was most anxious to obtain a licence for the weapon, and… related the following story:-

His grandfather was a colonel in the East India Company’s service… read more

The Hammond Lane Explosion, 1878

From the Freeman’s Journal, 29 April 1878:

“On Saturday afternoon Dublin was startled and horrified by one of the most appalling accidents which has ever taken place in this metropolis – an accident by which no less than fourteen fellow creatures have lost their lives, and by which a dreadful amount of suffering, sorrow, misery and bereavement has been caused.

The scene of this awful occurrence was Hammond-Lane, a narrow laneway situated in the poor and populous district read more

Human Remains Beside the West Wing, 1834

From the Dublin Observer, 4 January 1834:

“Some workmen, employed in the course of the past week in sinking a sewer from the Four Courts to the river, in the course of their excavations discovered, at the depth of about two feet from the surface, and approaching the pallisading enclosing the upper yard from the flagway, a pavement in tolerably good preservation. On clearing this away, and sinking about 18 inches beneath it, they came on another pavement… About three feet under read more

Mob Attack, Inns Quay, 1830

For the Good Friday that’s in it, this story from Saunders’s News-Letter, 7 June 1830:-

“DESPERATE OUTRAGE – For some months past, a person of genteel appearance has appeared in the streets, in various parts of this city, preaching to people, and according to his notions, following the life of one of the first preachers of the Gospel. He has generally held a small edition of the Bible in his hand, occasionally read a verse from it, and commented on his reading. In read more

The Wigmaker of Arran Quay, 1862

The Dublin Correspondent of the Belfast Newsletter, 13 January 1862, writes:

“I should chronicle the departure to his rest of a worthy and venerable citizen of Dublin, who saw in his time many an opening day of Term, and whose richly-stored memory was fraught with numberless anecdotes of the Irish Bar in its palmiest days, and of the old Four Courts in the Cathedral Close, where his career as wigmaker to the courts commenced some seventy-seven years ago.

Mr Peter Lavallee, to whom I allude, read more

The Bridge That Never Was, 1802

Saunders’s News-Letter of 31 December 1802 reported that

“[t]here is… a talk of casting a very broad bridge over the river in front of the Four Courts, which shall form an open area equal to the extent of the building; there will afford an opportunity to our architects of showing their genius by making various designs.”

A bridge in front of the new Four Courts certainly made sense from an aesthetic point of view. However, on 16 May 1808, a letter was published in the same read more